Karnataka govt bans Ola, Uber, Rapido autos
The Karnataka state government has declared the auto services of app-based cab and bike aggregators, and "illegal" again and has asked them to discontinue the services in three days.
A notice by the Karnataka State Transport Department said, "The auto services should be discontinued and not charge passengers more than the fare prescribed by the government." The department has given the aggregators three days to file the compliance reports.
The department has called the auto services run by the aggregators "illegal" under On-Demand Transportation Technology Act 2016, according to news reports.
Reportedly, commuters have complained to the state government that the companies charge a minimum of Rs 100 as the base fare. According to government norms, auto drivers are eligible to charge a fixed rate of Rs 30 for the first two kilometres and Rs 15 per kilometre thereafter.
The state police authorities have said that the ride aggregators are not eligible to run auto services as rules are applicable for taxis only.
According to a source in Ola, the ride-hailing unicorn states that the operations will run as per normal. However, officially, the company has refused to comment on the issue at hand.
This is not the first time that the aggregators' services have been called "illegal". The aggregators have had their run-ins with the state government since 2016, the most recent one being in March 2019.
Commenting on the development, a Rapido spokesperson said, "In light of the notice issued to auto-rickshaw service aggregators by the Commissioner, Road Transport and Safety, Transport Department of Karnataka, Rapido would like to clarify that none of its operations in the city of Bengaluru are illegal. We have received a notice from the Road Transport Authority, and we will be responding to it within the stipulated time. The allegations being made regarding extra money charged by Rapido on auto taxi fares are completely false. All our fares are determined in accordance with the fares decided upon by the state government, and Rapido is not charging any extra money over those fares."
The spokesperson also said, "Rapido will continue operating in Bengaluru under the ambit of the law. Any false allegations levied on our auto taxi services in Bengaluru are not only irrational but also inhumane, as they jeopardise the convenient daily commute of thousands of citizens and risk the livelihoods of our captains, who rely on us for their daily income. We intend to keep serving the people of Bengaluru by providing them with a safe, convenient and economical commute."
In a letter dated March 18, 2019 the regional transport department issued a notice to ANI Technologies, Ola's parent company, asking it to suspend its app-based cab services in the city.
The two-page letter stated that the ride-hailing app has been illegally operating bike-taxi services through alleged "fake licences". It said that the transport department would be suspending the company's licence for the next six months, in effect banning all its services. The department's notice also stated that the app-based services are against the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act.
According to news reports, local auto drivers are planning to start their own mobile app called 'Namma Yatri'. YourStory has not independently verified these reports.
(The story has been updated with quotes from a source and a Rapido spokesperson.)
Edited by Swetha Kannan